Chiselled abs, firm arms and a solid butt — if you have been working out hard but not seeing results, you might be making some common workout mistakes. I have singled out eight fitness mistakes that are destroying your chances of having the body you’ve always wanted.
With this knowledge in your arsenal, you could be well on your way to getting in shape.
Mistake 1: You Should Do Ab Exercises For A Flat Stomach
But, ab exercises work my abdominal muscles, no? No, that is the worst thing to do in your quest for a flat stomach. To achieve a flat stomach, you have to burn off the layer of fat first.
Working your abs constantly will grow your abdominal muscles, pushing against the layer of fat and making your stomach look bigger. You should only do ab exercises when your fat level has dropped, which will then build the abdominal muscles.
What you should do instead:
There’s a saying: ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’. To burn belly fat, you have to burn more calories than you consume. And that starts with having the right diet.
Adopt a clean diet that ensures your body gets nutritious food that is low in calories. Throw in some cardiovascular workouts that scorch belly fat and you’re well on your way to a coveted flat stomach.
Mistake 2: You Can Lose Fat At A Specific Area Of Your Body
I always hear people say things like “My thighs are fat, I need to lose fats at my thighs only by working on them more.”
People believe in the notion that they can lose fat from a single area of the body by working that area. E.g. Doing abdominal exercises to lose fats as mentioned above in fitness mistake 1.
This is false as fat is burnt evenly from the entire body as a result of diet and exercise. Your body is not programmed to burn fat from a single specific region, contrary to slimming centres that often exploit this concept when marketing to customers.
What you should do instead:
Now that you know that working a single body part to lose fat in that area is false, you should focus on a full body workout that works large muscle groups and burns lots of calories. Here’s an example of a full body workout.
Mistake 3: Women Should Not Lift Weights As It Makes Them Look Bigger
I cringe whenever my female friends tell me that they become bigger and bulkier when they lift weights. That is untrue as women simply lack the hormones and physiology to put on large amounts of muscle like men.
Women have 15 times less testosterone than men in general, which is a hormone essential for building muscle. Trust me, it is really not that easy to build muscle.
If anything, women put on a small amount of muscle when she lifts correctly, which reshapes her body. The body can only look “in shape” when there is sufficient muscle available to provide the structural look, and there is no other way around than lifting or resistance training.
Avoid weight lifting or resistance training and you’ll miss out a lot of physical benefits.
Mistake 4: The Weighing Scale Is Always Correct
People tend to trust the weighing scale too much. They associate a lower weight with a better physique, which is untrue as it doesn’t tell you the muscle and fat distribution in your body.
If you are still confused, the picture above shows both bodies that weigh 60kg, even when the body on the right looks leaner.
Hence, this supports the notion that we should not always trust the weighing scale to measure our physique. Losing weight does not mean you are in better shape.
Mistake 5: Dieting Means Eating Little/Starving
When most people diet, they lower their food intake so drastically that they starve their bodies of the necessary nutrients.
A crash diet/starving will never get you in shape because of the following reasons:
Imagine being starved and deprived of food, your cravings will haunt you constantly. Eventually, you will fail to curb them and end up consuming more junk food and gaining back all the fats. This method of dieting is never sustainable.
As we established above, we need muscles to stay in shape. When we starve or eat very little, the body will break down its muscle reserves for energy, in turn making you look “flabbier”.
Mistake 6: Long, Slow Cardio Is Better For Losing Weight Than Short, Intense Cardio
One must be at a caloric deficit to lose weight. Hence, the workout that burns the most calories will be the most beneficial. Short, intense cardio such as interval sprints burns more calories overall during and after the workout as compared to long, slow cardio.
Due to the high intensity of the workout, the body’s metabolism is elevated up to 24 hours after the workout. This means that you are burning calories during and after your workout, creating a larger caloric deficit for greater weight loss.
Hence, short intense cardio is the way to go to lose weight and save time. Here’s an example of short intense cardio workouts, aka HIIT workout.
Mistake 7: Toning Of Muscles
Let’s get this straight: Your muscles either grow bigger or shrink in size. There is no such thing as “toning”. “Toning” is a term coined by people who experience minor muscular gains, which improves their muscular definition. The main driving principle behind the “toned” look is building muscle.
This misconception is common in many gym-goers who perform weight lifting exercises at high repetitions above 25, which isn’t the most ideal for building muscle. What you should actually be doing if you want to be “toned” is to performing repetitions between 8-12 using a decent heavyweight with good form. This speeds up muscle growth and you will be “toned” in no time. But don’t worry, I promise you will not become the Hulk.
Mistake 8: Protein Shakes Make You Bulky Easily
Protein shakes is a supplement that many gym-goers take to ensure they hit their daily protein intake. It doesn’t contain a magical formula that makes you muscular easily — hard work and dedication are still required to ensure that your physique improves.
Protein shakes are purely convenient ways of increasing your protein intake, and could be substituted for many other things like chicken. If anything, protein shakes make it easier for you to stick to your diet as it provides the necessary nutrition you need.
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